They’re Not Lemons
You think these are lemons.
But they’re not.
You got them and thought,
“I’ll make lemonade.” Not.
These are citrons,
bought for Sukkot *
(say it with me, “sue-COAT”)
for the week in the fall when we eat, sleep and dwell
in a hut. But
your citron is precarious (hilarious?)
like the shaky shelter
like lemons on strings.
It’s edifying (clarifying) and oft times terrifying
…like trying to make lemonade
from a citron.
*Sukkot is a Jewish harvest festival observed by living—eating and sometimes sleeping—in a small makeshift dwelling called a sukkah. Celebrated for seven days, Sukkot recalls Jewish wandering in the desert on the way to The Promised Land. Citrons—along with myrtle, willow, and date palm—are part of four species used ceremonially during the holiday. Sukkot themes remind us of the impermanence of life; communal hospitality; and our important role as stewards of the earth.
New Year’s Resolution, 2021
I sit. I stand.
I stand. I sit.
We name each lapse and sin.
I’m sure I’ve made a few mistakes.
But where do I begin?
I ate the last Fig Newton that I knew my brother wanted.
I hid beneath my sister’s bed and growled like it was haunted.
I put my mama’s lipstick on the neighbor’s Persian cat.
And sprayed my daddy’s aftershave around the laundromat.
The rabbi says that all these things
don’t mean that I’m immoral.
She says it means I missed the mark.*
(And who am I to quarrel?)
So next year I will do my best
to mind my P’s and Q’s.
And maybe look for workshops
that teach archery to Jews.
*In Judaism, the word for sin is often translated as “missing the mark.”
Playground Decisions, A reverso story *
what’s really important?
(totally not considering others),
I am who I am.
I am who? I am
totally not considering others,
What’s really important,
* A reverso poem reverses itself in the middle and tells two different stories, using the same lines only changing punctuation and capitalization.
Splendor in the Grass **
They said that the house was enchanted
with beautiful bushes all planted
by hardworking elves
who worked by themselves.
Thus Snow knew her wish would be granted.
The laurel and ivy were splendid
allowing Snow’s crop to be blended…
covertly at first
then soon interspersed
’til all of the pretense was ended.
The scene was beyond one’s belief.
Troubled people arrived with their grief.
They came clutching straws
because of the laws
that would not allow them relief.
Yes, Snow was a blessing, indeed.
Her comforted patients agreed.
(And just for the record
Snow’s name wasn’t checkered.
No cash was exchanged for the weed.)
** Dedicated to Harry Schriebman (1922-2020) who was able to mitigate debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease through the use of medical cannabis. This one’s for you, Dad.